One of the biggest ironies in the job market is that you need an experience to get a job. However, no one is willing to hire a fresher and the cycle goes on and on.
Before clients hire you, they need the evidence that you know your job and will be able to provide you the quality they are expecting from their employees or freelancers. If you are starting out as a freelance translator, then there are number of ways for you to build a portfolio that will help you gain the requisite industry experience.
In this article, we will share some helpful tips for you to learn on the job and score some well-paying gigs as a translator. Read on to learn more.
Offer to volunteer for your services
Even though translation is a laborious task, volunteering for free in exchange for credit can be very helpful in building a portfolio. Taking on a handful of gigs to show some experience is a great way to invest in your new career. You can reach out to companies or individuals who are wiling to hire you to translate their documents. Offering your services for free will encourage them to try because they don’t really have anything to lose.
But, of course, you can ask them to pay you for your subsequent assignments. Moreover, foreign language professionals such as a Japanese Translator will come at a high price. So, as a new student, you can give them that service for free and get your foot in the door. You can request for credit, if the work is being published somewhere, or ask for a testimonial that you can share with your future clients.
Participate in crowd-sourced translation
This kind of work is also usually unpaid but gives you a good opportunity to work with industry experts and learn on the job. There are many apps and websites that use crowd-sourced translation and Twitter is the best place to ask for that kind of work. You can also translate Wikipedia articles to not only gain some experience but also get productive feedback from proficient editors. Look for opportunities where you can participate in a large project that gives you the exposure and some form of acknowledgement for your participation.
Look for a job in an agency
As someone who wants to work as a freelancer, this may not your primary choice. However, sometimes it helps to get some real work experience before you can get someone to trust you as a freelancer. Agencies will provide you the work without you having to worry about finding clients. Moreover, agencies are more than willing to take on raw translators and give them a conducive environment to learn as well as earn. Either you can find an employment with one of these agencies or choose to give them a part of your pay check on exchange for their efforts in finding you work.
Integrate yourself in their culture
The best way to brush up your skills is to integrate yourself in the local culture of the language you want to practice. While there will be no discernible experience to show, but you will get to practice with the natives and sharpen your skills. As a freelancer, you should not give up any opportunity to expand your skill set. The better you are at your job, the easier it will be for you to find some credible work.
Replenish your skills with a translation course
Apart from your college degree, which in itself is a huge acknowledgement of your skill, you can also consider impressing your clients with some additional qualifications. You can take up online certificate courses to add on to your resume. This will not only strengthen your profile but taking valuable feedback from your instructors will certainly improve your existing skill.
As a professional translator, your best option to find work is to get direct contracts that does not involve any colleagues or mediators. For starters, you can also consider working with credible translation agencies that offer to find you clients for a small percentage of your pay check. Finding the right balance between these two options will build a portfolio that you can proudly show to your prospective clients and ask for work.
If you are a freelancer, then we hope that this post gives you all the insight you need to expand your experience. It may not be that easy to break into the translation market just yet. However, these tips will certainly help you get your foot in the door. All you need is persistence and patience to embrace the challenges that come with being an inexperienced foreign language translator!